ALERT Philippine customs and fisheries personnel foiled an attempt to smuggle live corals and anemones to Taiwan via the Philippines premier airport.
The Bureau of Customs and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) officers at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport said the contraband were in nine boxes and were surreptitiously declared as tropical fish. It was about to be loaded to a Cebu Pacific plane bound for Taiwan when it was examined and later seized.
BFAR quarantine officer Francis Taborda said the boxes yielded 203 live corals, 28 anemones and 406 live tropical fish when examined.
Customs District III Collector Edgar Macabeo said the corals, listed under Endangered Species Act, are banned for export while the anemones require permit under the RA 10654 or Revised Fisheries Code.
Customs-NAIA police chief Reggie Tuazon said the live corals which is valued at P1 million (about US $21,739) was consigned to a certain Chen Shih ST of Sanchong District, New Taipei City and was shipped by Deep Blue Sea Aquatic Trading with address in Paranaque City.
Corals are invertebrates that have been on earth for about 500 million years and are taxonomically related to anemones jellyfish and hydras.